The 2008 Karting Scholarship Shoot-out’s ‘Elite 12’

Thursday, December 06, 2007

At last year’s Shoot-out, judge Jim Pace updates the car-assignment board before one of the sessions.

LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Skip Barber Racing today announced the names of the 12 karters who, based on their accomplishments, assessed potential and other attributes, have won scholarship invitations to the 11th annual Skip Barber Karting Shoot-out, January 31 – February 1-3, 2008, at Sebring International Raceway. By virtue of being selected, each of the 12 talented drivers has been awarded a scholarship covering the cost of a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School, the completion of which is required in order to enter the Shoot-out.

This elite group of 12 will join 38 other karters in hopes of earning sponsorship dollars to compete in one of the four Skip Barber Regional Race Series and/or the 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. These Skip Barber championships form the foundation of the Mazda Motorsports Ladder System: Skip Barber, Star Mazda, then Champ Car Atlantic Powered by Mazda.

The largest available award at the Shoot-out – a paid season in the Skip Barber National, valued at approximately $45,000 – is sponsored by Mazda North America’s racing arm, Mazdaspeed Motorsports. Including the Mazda Scholarship, $130,000 in total will be awarded at the Skip Barber Shoot-out.

Previous Scholarship Shoot-out entrants and/or winners include A.J. Allmendinger, Scott Speed, Patrick Long, Michael Valiante, Marco Di Leo, Ricky and Jordan Taylor, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Phil Giebler, Timmy Megenbier, Gabby Chaves and numerous others who have gone on to post significant achievements in the world of racing. The two most recent champions of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda – Jonathan Goring in 2006 and Joel Miller this year – won scholarships at previous Shoot-outs.

The ‘‘Elite 12’’ have all demonstrated their skills in one or more karting championships: the Snap-on Stars of Karting Presented by the IRL series (SoK); the World Karting Association (WKA); the Florida Winter Tour (FWT); and SuperKarts USA (SKUSA). The drivers’ names are in alphabetical order, along with abbreviated/edited highlights of their 2007 racing seasons:

1. Conor Daly, 15, Noblesville, Ind. (SoK/East champion, Spec Racer (TaG); WKA TaG, 10th)
2. Nick DeCuzzi, 15, Brunswick, Ohio (WKA; United States Kart Grand Prix)
3. Conner De Phillippi, 14, San Clemente, Calif. (ProKart S3 champion; SKUSA SuperNats winner)
4. Hayden Duerson, 15, Gulfport, Fla. (SoK, Rookie of the Year (competed in ICC))
5. Jarvis Gennari, 14, Boca Raton, Fla. (FWT & SoK JICA champion; FWT/Rotax Jr. champion)
6. Grant Hebner, 19, Fallbrook, Calif. (Multiple ProKart Challenge TaG winner)
7. Pedro Jacobsen, 24, Brazil (FWT and Moroso club racing)
8. Cody Jolly, 16, Houston, Texas (SoK/ICA race winner: third in East, third in West (sixth overall))
9. Brendan Langlois, 15, Kamloops, B.C., Canada (SoK/JICA East Champion (third overall))
10. Chelsie Lehmann, 16, Parkton, Md. (WKA/Gold Cup, second; Jr. Light, second; Jr. Heavy, third)
11. Brett Smrz, 16, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (SKUSA SuperNats)
12. Joey Wimsett, 17, Beaver Creek, Ore. (SoK/Spec Racer winner (National Finals); sixth overall)

2007: Drivers from group two begin to saddle up for one of their sessions at Sebring International Raceway.

2007: A Shoot-out competitor hustling a Skip Barber F2000 through Turn Three.

Words & photos, Rick Roso

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